Bellevue PD says first murder in 3 years was gang-related
Bellevue experienced its first murder in three years last April. After an extensive investigation, police believe they have the suspects in custody.
“After a lengthy and complicated investigation, we launched Operation Goldsmith mid-morning on Sept. 30,” said Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett.
Operation Goldsmith included the Bellevue Police Department, a SWAT team, and the Everett Police Department. Four suspects were taken into custody.
Mylett told KIRO Radio Tuesday that he has been frequently asked about whether the fatal shooting on April 3 was gang related.
“Based on the admissions made by some of our suspects who self-identified as gang members, physical evidence that we gathered in the course of this investigation, and statements we obtained from witnesses, I can confidently say that this was a gang-related homicide,” Mylett said. “The motive for this murder is becoming clearer to us, but I’m not prepared at this moment to state emphatically what the primary motive was … but I will say that the victim and the suspects definitely knew each other.”
The case began when police were called to the scene in Goldsmith Park around 12:30 a.m. April 3. Officers found an 18-year-old boy, dead, shot multiple times. The young man was identified as Josue Flores.
“This is the fifth homicide since I’ve been here, we went three years without a homicide in Bellevue which I’m pretty proud of,” Mylett said. “All of the homicides that have occurred while I’ve been here have been solved. We’ve made arrests and people have been successfully prosecuted. Our officers know that our job is not done when we put handcuffs on somebody and book them into jail. Our job is done when we get a successful prosecution for people who commit crimes.”
Bellevue police report that three of the suspects have been booked into King County Jail for first-degree murder. A juvenile was booked into the King County Youth Detention Center for first-degree murder.
- A 24-year-old suspect was arrested in Renton following a traffic stop.
- A 19-year-old suspect was arrested during a traffic stop in Bellevue.
- A 21-year-old suspect was arrested at Bellevue District Court when he was appearing for another case with unrelated charges.
- A 15-year-old suspect was arrested as he was being released from the King County Youth Detention Center.
Physical and digital evidence led investigators to the suspects. Detectives also used photos posted to the suspects’ social media accounts in their investigation.
While looking into the case, detectives believe they were able to link the suspects to another shooting that happened in Everett earlier that same evening, when a 17-year-old boy was shot.
“In the course of our investigation we learned that two of our suspects had been involved in a shooting in Everett a few hours before they murdered Mr. Flores,” Mylett said.